Renegar Warns of Threats to Water Rights
Water day at the capitol was marred by the surfacing of the committee substitute for SB 741 by Fields (R-Pawhuska), and Schulz (R-Altus). The bill, in this form, would create the Oklahoma Water Center, which would then implement the Comprehensive Water Study. The CWS has not been released and no public feedback sessions for the studies have been held. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!!!
This bill sets up a revolving fund for any sale of water. This bill further has an outline for the water center to establish guidelines for the out of state sale of water, including the pricing of water, which the comprehensive water study did not even include in its studies.
This bill also instructs the “revolving fund” to spend the money it collects on water infrastructure, without ever mentioning any return of revenue to the basin of origin.
This bill also requires landowners who pump from wells to report usage on a monthly basis. The farmers in Western Oklahoma are going to love this.
I realize that we have had good luck in our Court action with the Tarrant County water district, but we still have a large contingency of Tarrant County lobbyists roaming the halls of the Capitol. I fear that the Senate leadership has been swayed by Tarrant County, and this committee substitute for SB 741 is the result. This is a good reason for the people of the State of Oklahoma to not let your guard down. Remember: Jobs follow water, and water is the new oil. Remember what T. Boone Pickens said,“If you think the battle for oil is bad, wait until the battle for water starts.”